Regulation of online fundraising activities
MR CHAN CHUN-YING (in Cantonese): Thank you, President. I fully support regulating crowdfunding activities, and I am glad that the Bureau will conduct public consultation. However, some crowdfunding activities of an emergency nature, such as those for seeking medical treatment, are very urgent. Some members of the public are thus worried that if such activities require registration or prior permission, the process will take time, and this will affect the administration of timely treatment. Therefore, may I ask whether the Government, in considering the introduction of legislation for regulation, will provide for an exemption mechanism in respect of crowdfunding activities which are specifically aimed at providing emergency assistance, and at the same time formulate measures to prevent abuse? Thank you.
SECRETARY FOR FINANCIAL SERVICES AND THE TREASURY (in Cantonese): Thank you, President. As a matter of fact, similar charitable activities for providing emergency assistance, for which Mr CHAN expressed his concern just now, are nothing new in Hong Kong because such activities are also carried out through physical means. As I have mentioned in the main reply earlier, physical fundraising activities are subject to the registration system under the Director of Social Welfare or the Secretary for Home Affairs, depending on whether the activities are charitable in nature. Therefore, if the focus is now on online activities, we need to consider how we can put forward a system which is both feasible and consistent with the existing laws and regulations.
As for the bigger issue, I believe that Mr CHAN will definitely be concerned about the social, economic and other impacts of this system after its introduction. This is something we need to consider and also the reason why we have to take time to conduct a study. We will publish the consultation paper as soon as possible for discussion by the market within this year. Thank you, President.